Saturday, December 15, 2007

Alright, y'all, listen.

I was talking to a new acquaintance recently. Ace came up, and she asked how old he is. When I told her 18 months, she said "Oh, well he must be walking all over the place!" Fair assumption. I put on my "lemme ease you into this" smile, and said "No, not yet. He's got cerebral palsy."

See, at this point, a lot of people clam up. I couldn't figure this out for a while, but it really makes a lot of people visibly uncomfortable when I say that, or when I mention anything about his condition.

Here's my hypothesis. People seriously must think that I'm bummed out every second of every day that I have a child with special needs, and that I'm just putting on a brave face for the world to see, so natch, talking about it MUST be painful to me. I've had a lot of people tell me that they just couldn't handle having a child with CP, and they don't know how I do it.

I don't understand how people can stand their children not sleeping through the night till age 2. I don't understand how parents of picky eaters can give their kids anything they want just to get some food into them. I don't understand why my friend can't just let her kid cry, considering he doesn't nap without her laying next to him. I don't understand how people with multiples don't have scraggly hair and bags under their eyes 24/7. Do you ever tell people like that how brave they are? No, cuz that's just the way it is.

I'm not brave. I'm not modest. I'm sure as heck not sad every moment of every day, and none of you would be either if Ace were yours. I don't mind talking about Ace's diagnosis, or his future, or ANYTHING. If you have questions, please ask. What's worse to me is you pretending he doesn't have cerebral palsy, or pretending that at some point it'll just go away and we don't have to talk about it until the storm passes. That's not accepting him for who he is.

So don't get all uncomfortable when I say how happy I am that he'll never get drafted, or when I say things like "I guess he'll just ask girls to dance by bumping into them with his walker and saying 'deh?'" Thank God I have friends with senses of humor. Ringo wins the off-color joke award, but I won't repeat his jokes because I will straight up offend people. However, he made me laugh so hard that cookie came out of my nose.

On another note, this goes out to you parents. Do not censor yourselves around me because I have a child with a disability. If you're concerned that your child isn't walking by 13 months, don't avoid telling me that because Ace isn't walking at 18 months. I'd be concerned too. When your child starts walking, or saying mama, or anything, TELL ME. I am HAPPY FOR YOU. To be completely honest, I am sad that Ace isn't doing those things yet, and may never do some things, and it does twinge my heart just a tiny little bit. But your child walking doesn't send me into a pit of depression. If you haven't told me that your child is walking, I kinda get worried. It's like when I was trying to get pregnant - when my friends got pregnant, I was a little sad that I wasn't, but ecstatic that they were. Everyone dig?

And since I hate having two posts on my blog in a row with a serious theme, I will post these two lolcats in honor of Caturday.





























Now I'm gonna go make myself all cute for a party tonight. Ace is gonna be staying with a paid, 17-year-old. She kept calling me ma'am. *sigh*

9 comments:

Sandi said...

Love the lolcats. :)

Stacey, I appreciate you posting this. I honestly never know what to say when I'm around someone with a "special needs" child. (using quote marks because I don't like that term) Unless I really know someone well, I don't want to ask questions because I never know how they'll react. I'm not asking questions because I'm criticizing them, or think less of their child. But they don't know that. Nor do I want them to think I'm nosing into something that's not my business.
So, yes, thanks for the post. Ace is an amazing kid, and you are blessed!

Stacey said...

I'm not saying that you should walk up to someone with their kid in a walker at a grocery store and say "Hey, what's wrong with your kid?" I'm saying that when I'm in a conversation with a group of acquaintances and I say something about Ace's CP, I don't want that to result in a big, uncomfortable silence. You and I barely know each other and have only met once, but if you were to ask me ANY question about Ace's CP I would answer them to the best of my ability because instead of stifling your curiosity and trying to ignore his condition, you're trying to educate yourself.

And that philly lolcat made me laugh so hard that I cried. That's absolutely one of my favorites.

Jacolyn said...

Great post!! Oh, and I do have scraggly hair and dark circles under my eye...hee hee.

Supermom said...

and you were rocking 'cute'!!!

Sandi said...

Oh, I wouldn't just waltz up to a perfect stranger and start asking questions about their child, regardless of whether their child had a disability. I'm not some creep. But I'm talking about, say, someone you go to church with, or work with. Maybe not a friend, but acquaintance. You know.
Really, thanks for the post. Alleviate any embarrassment BEFORE it's an issue. heh.

mayberry said...

This was a good post Stacey. Thanks for clearing the air.

Christy said...

LOLOL I LOOOVE Caturday!!!

Oh and you looked Hoooot Saturday night ;)

sinister_n_evil said...

I am sooooo with you there.... charles is 2 and will be 3 in august and still is not walking...

the conversations stop after they find out how old he is... no questions or nothing...

he knows how to say very few words, but he communicates to us in his own way... and even rob is picking up on that....

my munchkin is sooo affectionate and we love him just the way he is...

I am not brave, I am just a mom.

Sandi said...

"I am not brave, I am just a mom."

So true. Sometimes I think God made women special, just for this reason. We have a tremendous capacity for love.